Only a week after posting about the need for states to charge all veterans the “in-state” tuition rate, Chairman Jeff Miller (FL) and Ranking Member Mike Michaud (ME) of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs introduced bipartisan legislation (H.R. 357) that would require state-operated schools to give veterans in-state tuition rates even though they may not be residents of the states where the schools are located. The requirement would apply to state schools which have programs which are eligible for the GI Bill. According the House VA Committee’s press release, the legislation has been met with early support from several Veterans Service Organizations, including the Student Veterans of America and VFW. Michael Dakduk of the Student Veterans of America said, “We fully support Chairman Miller’s and Congressman Michaud’s efforts to provide in-state tuition to student veterans regardless of residency status. The ‘GI Bill Tuition Fairness Act of 2013’ addresses the issue of inequity within the Post 9/11 GI Bill and will do a great deal to support veterans’ success in higher education.” The VFW’s Executive Director, Bob Wallace was quoted in the January 23, 2013 press release, “Over the last couple of years, the VFW has heard from countless veterans driven into more expensive college programs because public schools offered no flexibility in residency requirements, prohibiting veterans from attending at the in-state rate.” Adding, “The VFW is proud to see that Chairman Miller and Ranking Member Michaud have already taken a bold stance to ensure student-veterans attending public schools receive a reasonably-priced education at the public school of their choice, as we intended when we passed the Post-9/11 GI Bill.” It should be noted that the Post-9/11 GI Bill offers the Yellow Ribbon program, which is designed to help veterans avoid out-of-pocket tuition and fees. However, not all schools choose to participate at the 100 percent level and some restrict the number of open slots for the YRP. Although I hate using the term “fairness,” it is obvious that this is a great step toward treating student veterans fairly and respecting the fact that military service benefits all 50 states. And most importantly this bill will help student veterans avoid thousands in out-of-pocket tuition and fees. Let your elected officials know how you feel about the GI Bill Tuition Fairness Act of 2013.
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